Jordan: Commemorating Two Years of Treating Syrian War-Wounded in Ramtha

Ton Koene

On September 29, 2015, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) commemorated the second anniversary of its Emergency Trauma Surgical Project, which provides quality medical treatment to Syrian war-wounded patients, in Al-Ramtha Government Hospital in northern Jordan's Ramtha district.

Since September 2013, more than 1,850 Syrian war-wounded have arrived into the Emergency Room (ER) of Al-Ramtha hospital—75 percent of whom suffered from poly-trauma resulting from blast injuries—and more than 2,900 surgical interventions have been performed. In the same time frame, MSF admitted 864 patients into its surgical program. Some 20 percent of the patients treated in the ER have been children.

“This program has enabled Syrians with the most urgent need for medical treatment to receive safe and quality medical care in Ramtha that they cannot find in their devastated homeland”, said Luis Eguiluz, MSF Head of Mission in Jordan. General inpatient care, physiotherapy, and mental health support are an integral part of the medical services provided.

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“The injuries sometimes lead to permanent disabilities, and the wounds can take months to heal, and that is why our program also includes a post-operative component for recovery and rehabilitation," explained Eguiluz. In March 2014, MSF opened a post-operative care unit as a step down facility in Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq governorate, the largest refugee camp in Jordan. With a 40-bed capacity, this facility provides recovery and rehabilitative care to patients after the surgical interventions they have received in Ramtha or in other hospitals in Jordan.

In 2015, 133 patients received medical treatment at the facility, and around 400 psychosocial support sessions were conducted.

“I wish that, in the years to come, Jordan will continue to show its generosity to the wounded, children, women and men who are in desperate need of life-saving medical attention, and who have no chances of surviving except to be evacuated into Jordan. I hope that we see a near end to this dreadful conflict, and that meanwhile, the Kingdom will continue to grant the most vulnerable access to our program," Eguiluz added.

Since the conflict in Syria began, more than four million Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan. MSF started working in Jordan in August 2006, when it launched a reconstructive surgery program in Amman that was designed to treat Iraqi war victims. Since 2013, MSF has been working to support refugees and patients through Al-Ramtha Emergency Trauma Surgical program, as well as a Mother and Child hospital, and two non-communicable diseases clinics in Irbid to support Syrian refugees in host communities, as well as vulnerable Jordanians. 

Surgery with Surgeon Dr Hayder Alwash MSF Medical staff are working in Ramtha hospital in Jordan (5 km from Syrian border) where war wounded patients from Syria are being treated. Majority of patients require emergency surgery. Due to the severity of the injuries, patients require multiple complex surgery and long rehabilitation. The surgery runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ton Koene